Menopause - the "Change of Life"

Menopause, also referred to as the "Change of Life" is the point at which a woman stops ovulating and menstruation ceases. This indicates the end of fertility. Once a woman stops ovulating, the hormones progesterone and estrogen are greatly no longer produced by her ovaries. Estrogen is commonly thought of as a sex hormone strictly tied to reproduction. However, it also acts on many different organs in the body. Cells in the vagina, breasts, bladder, skin, arteries, bones, heart, brain, and liver all contain estrogen receptors. They require this hormone to stimulate these receptors for normal cell function. Progesterone is needed to keep the skin smooth and moist, our hormones operating properly, and the arteries unclogged. Progesterone is also necessary for proper bone formation.

The menopausal period is different for each individual woman. Some women start earlier and some later but the average age at menopause is approximately fifty years of age. This transition usually lasts up to five years. When a woman has a hysterectomy but keeps at least one of her ovaries, she will stop menstruating after surgery, but she will still go through menopause.

Many woman experience short-term or acute symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, mood swings, anxiety, headaches, dizziness, depression, bladder problems, poor libido, vaginal dryness and itching, burning and discomfort during sexual intercourse, breast tenderness, dryness and aging of the skin, shortness of breath, insomnia, and heart. These symptoms are all due to estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency.

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